The starting point guards for the two finalists in the NBA this season were career journeymen Rafer Alston and Derek Fisher. That didn't stop the rest of the league from loading up on players at that position during the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night. There were 11 point guards taken during the first round,
It started when the Kings tabbed Tyreke Evans with the fourth overall pick, and ended when Oklahoma City tabbed Rodrigue Beaubois. The Thunder sent Beaubois to Dallas moments later, and that wasn't the only deal to go down during the course of the draft.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were so excited about the point guards on the market that they selected three of them in the first 18 pickes. They picked Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio with the fifth pick, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse with the sixth pick and North Carolina's Ty Lawson at number 18. That screams trade, and they did deal Lawson to the Denver Nuggets, but as the first round came to a close they hadn't made moves with Rubio or Flynn.
Rubio's name has been linked to the Knicks in a potential deal, and New York wanted one of those point guards for themselves. But the Warriors grabbed Stephen Curry of Davidson with the seventh pick, leaving the Knicks with power forward Jordan Hill of Arizona. As we mentioned, though, there's a lot of trade talk in the air.
Curry's involved in some of it, as word of a deal sending Suns forward Amar'e Stoudemire to Golden State swirled around Madison Square Garden. Boos also swirled around the Garden when the Hill pick was announced, though they appeared to be directed more at the frustration of not landing Curry than anything Hill did to deserve them.
As expected, Blake Griffin went first overall to the Clippers. He was followed by two of the best dressed draftees, Hasheem Thabeet, selected by Memphis, and James Harden who wound up in Oklahoma City. Thabeet was rocking a shiny beige pinstriped suit, while Harden stood out by choosing to go with a bowtie. He admitted that he didn't tie it himself, however, and relied on the skills of his stylist.
Other highlights of the first round came when the rowdy Garden crowd serenaded former North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough with an "Overrated" chant after the Pacers picked him with the 13th pick. Omri Casspi also got the crowd going, in a positive manner this time, when the Kings selected him with the 23rd pick. Several Israeli fans waved a flag in honor of the man who could be the first NBA player from their country.
Brandon Jennings raised some eyebrows when he announced he'd be skipping the draft after RSVPing yes, and then raised some more when he suddenly appeared on stage four picks after he went to the Bucks with the 10th overall selection. He blew a kiss (of apology?) to the Garden crowd upon his arrival.
As a point guard, Jennings should have known better than to skip the night devoted to his position.